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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > Command-line access to firewire tape drive

Command-line access to firewire tape drive
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Fresh-Faced Recruit
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Mar 12, 2007, 02:04 PM
 
Hi,

I have an Exabyte VXA-2e firewire tape drive. I need to setup a script that will backup various things on a mac computer to tape.

For various reasons, we do not want to use graphical software (like retrospect). We would like to create a script that will do the backup, log results and email us.

However, I do not know how to access the tape drive in Mac OS X. I have a few questions:

1. How can I verify that is is properly detected (something like a system command that would like any detected firewire device and its status)? Graphical commands would also help, as this is mainly to verify the tape drive connectivity.

2. How do I access the drive (from command-line or GUI)? Is there a /dev/ name for it?

3. What command exist for the tape manipulation (rewind, fast-forward, get status, eject)?

4. How would I do a simple tar to tape?


Can anyone refer me to some good websites or books about using a tape drive in Mac OS X?

Also, maybe some links for AppleScript regarding tape drive.

Thanks a lot.
     
Posting Junkie
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Mar 12, 2007, 06:00 PM
 
I'd start with reading the man page for tar (Tape ARchive).
     
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Mar 12, 2007, 06:58 PM
 
The tar man page does not answer any of my questions.

I am not asking for help using tar, I know how to do that.

The only thing that the tar man page says that I thought might be useful to me is that is says the tape drive is /dev/sa0, but I do not have a /dev/sa0 even though the tape drive is connected, and the tape drive does work in retrospect. This is why I ask what a firewire tape drive is identified as.

Thanks.
     
Posting Junkie
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Mar 12, 2007, 08:43 PM
 
It was just an answer for #4...

1) Look for it in system profiler.

2) What do you mean access? Check /Volumes for it's location.

3) Read the man page for mtio.
     
Clinically Insane
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Mar 12, 2007, 09:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
It was just an answer for #4...

1) Look for it in system profiler.

2) What do you mean access? Check /Volumes for it's location.

3) Read the man page for mtio.

If it exists in /Volumes, it is probably mounted on his Desktop. I don't think tape drives normally mount. What I would do is reboot and do a

sudo dmesg

and see if the tape drive is being detected at boot. If it is, it should indicate the device node it has been assigned to.
     
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Mar 13, 2007, 12:59 PM
 
I looked in System Profiler and the tape drive is detected under Firewire. It says the following:

VXA-2 2105:

Manufacturer: EXABYTE
Model: 0x1
GUID: 0xD0160000000AEB
Maximum Speed: Up to 200 Mb/sec
Connection Speed: Up to 200 Mb/sec
Sub-units:
VXA-2 2105 Unit:
Unit Software Version: 0x10483
Unit Spec ID: 0x609E
Firmware Revision: 0x120
Product Revision Level: 2105
Sub-units:
VXA-2 2105 SBP-LUN:


I did not see any messages in dmesg about the drive though.

By access, I mean read/write from/to a tape. In linux, I would normally use tar with /dev/nst0, however this is obviously different with a firewire tape drive in Mac OS X. And then I would also need a way of controlling the tape (rewind, eject, etc...). In linux, this was done using the mt command and the same /dev/nst0.

Do I have to get mtio from somewhere? I do not have such a command and I don't have a man page for it.

This TOLIS Group, Inc. is essentially what I am looking for, but I was expecting this to be part of the OS (or a free download from apple or maybe someone else).

Thanks for you help.
     
   
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